Our planning team was appointed to provide planning advice on a 15.5 hectares (38 acres) brownfield site in a Conservation Area of North Devon, prior to its purchase from the MoD.
We co-ordinated a multi-disciplinary project team to review the potential redevelopment of the site as a new sustainable residential development.
Following the purchase of the land, we were instructed to prepare and submit a full planning application for 277 new homes, together with improved community facilities and open space provision.
A six month period of pre-application consultation followed with North Devon Council and local people, leading to the submission of a planning application. Despite an officer recommendation to approve, planning was initially refused.
We subsequently secured consent at appeal.
The key issues related to the proposed access and impact of the development on the conservation area and setting of nearby listed buildings, including the impact of demolishing all but two existing military buildings.
This required planning input to assess the impacts of the scheme and public benefits in accordance with para 134 of the NPPF. We directed and instructed counsel and provided strategy advice as well as appearing as Expert Witness. The Inspector allowed both appeals and granted planning permission.
The decision reinforces the need to consider up to date highway guidance in the form of MfS 1 and 2 and to undertake a cost/benefit balancing approach when considering conservation impact. Our evidence reinforced the absence of a five year supply, out of date policy, the importance of housing delivery and the significant social, economic and environmental benefits derived from the development.